College football, especially at the Group of Five level, is often defined by quarterback play. The best quarterbacks often lead their teams to success, and finishing the season as the highest-ranked Group of Five team essentially requires an elite college quarterback.
Early in the offseason, it looked as if Grayson McCall was destined to join a Power Five roster. McCall entered the transfer portal after his head coach, Jamey Chadwell, departed for Liberty. McCall was rumored to be an SEC target, but he ultimately withdrew his name from the portal.
McCall is expected to be Coastal Carolina’s quarterback again in 2023. His decision to return to the Sun Belt drastically impacts the Group of Five in 2023. He’s an NFL prospect with years of collegiate success, and he ensures Coastal Carolina will enter the season as a relevant name in the Sun Belt title race.
McCall alters the Sun Belt landscape
It’s unlikely anyone is happier than new Coastal Carolina Head Coach Tim Beck about McCall’s decision to return. What better way for an offensive-minded head coach to begin leading a program than with one of the most efficient quarterbacks in Sun Belt history?
McCall has thrown 78 touchdowns compared to just eight interceptions in his career, and he’ll enter the 2023 season as arguably the most well-known player in the Sun Belt. McCall is an elite passer, rarely makes mistakes, and puts his teammates in positions to succeed.
While McCall isn’t best known for his running, he does have over 1,000 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in his college career. He’s a dual-threat quarterback that stresses defenses in a multitude of ways.
There are plenty of other good quarterbacks in the Sun Belt, like South Alabama’s Carter Bradley, but nobody has quite the experience and proven track record of McCall. He makes Coastal Carolina a legitimate Sun Belt title contender in 2023, especially with JMU ineligible for the league championship.
The Sun Belt East runs through Conway, South Carolina. The Chanticleers struggled mightily at the end of 2022, during a stretch when McCall dealt with injuries. He didn’t play in the team’s 47-7 loss to JMU in the regular-season finale. His presence dramatically changed the team’s week-by-week chances.
Without McCall, there would’ve been questions about Coastal Carolina’s 2023 outlook in Beck’s first season as head coach. With McCall, the Chanticleers are a contender to win the Sun Belt.
McCall is even considered one of the few Heisman Trophy candidates at the Group of Five level, joining players like UTSA quarterback Frank Harris. He’s a special talent with Power Five ability, and he’s a top contender for Sun Belt Player of the Year.
How will the offense look?
While McCall is a known commodity, there are questions about how Coastal Carolina’s offense will look in 2023. With Chadwell gone, the Chanticleers will introduce a new scheme. How quickly will McCall pick it up? Will he mesh with offensive coordinator Travis Trickett?
The new coaching staff has an elite talent at their disposal, and they had spring football to get on the same page with McCall. Even if the offensive scheme and philosophies may vary from Chadwell’s unique speed-option attack, Coastal Carolina has the pieces to succeed offensively.
If McCall maintains his previous levels of production, Coastal Carolina will be a major factor in the Sun Belt race despite an offseason coaching change.
Bennett Conlin is a college football contributor for HERO Sports, and he works full-time covering sports betting industry news and legislation for Sports Handle and US Bets.